The Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland said it has written a “strongly worded” letter to government TDs voicing opposition to the emissions reduction target for agriculture.

The group described the 25% target, recently approved by government, as “the most important decision in the history of Irish agriculture”.

Independent Farmers claimed that there was an unwillingness on the part of the coalition to allow farmers credit for carbon sequestration through their grassland, hedgerows and trees.

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The group added that measures already undertaken by farmers, including the use of protected urea and low emission slurry spreading (LESS), were not being acknowledged. It said:

“Last week’s vote on target emissions for agriculture of 25% represents the death knell for Irish agriculture and the family-farm model.”

Along with writing to government TDs, Independent Farmers has also contacted all Sinn Féin TDs.

“It is most unfortunate, but noteworthy nonetheless, that Sinn Féin, the main opposition party, appear to have lost its voice at what is a crucial moment for Irish agriculture and rural communities,” the group stated.

The organisation claimed that the government “want to saddle Irish agriculture with a disproportionate burden, so as to allow the true emitters – heavy industry, electricity generation, aviation and transport – an easier passage and further reduce our grip on our land”.

It believes that farmers’ ownership rights have, and continue to be eroded by successive schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Independent Farmers also raised concerns about “billionaires and big business” seeking to acquire “productive farmland”, which it described as “the new finite commodity”.

“Land the production of food in the hands of a very small group of billionaires will leave the worlds population in a most perilous situation,” it claimed.